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Latent inhibition

Latent inhibition

Latent inhibition is a technical term used in classical conditioning to refer to the observation that a familiar stimulus takes a longer stimulus than a new stimulus. [1] The term “latent inhibition” dates back to Lubow and Moore. [2]The effect is “latent” in that it is not exhibited in the pre-exposure phase stimulus, but rather in the subsequent test phase. “Inhibition”, here, simply connotes that the effect is expressed in terms of relatively poor learning. The LI effect is extremely robust, appearing in all mammalian species that have been tested, and thus, have been reported to be highly adaptive.


The LI effect has received a number of interpretations. One class of theory holds that inconsequential stimulus pre-exposure results in reduced associability for that stimulus. The loss of associates has been attributed to a variety of devices that reduce attention, which then must be reacquired in order to learn to proceed normally. [3] Alternatively, it has been proposed that LI is a result of retrieval failure rather than acquisition failure. [4]Such a position advocates that, following stimulus pre-exposure, the acquisition of the new association to the old stimulus proceeds normally. However, in the test stage, two associations (the stimulus-no consequence association of the pre-exposure stage and the stimulus-consequence stimulus association of the acquisition stage) are retrieved and compete for expression. The group is pre-exposed to the stimulus performed better than the pre-exposed group because it is only the second association to be retrieved.


LI is affected by many factors, one of the most important of which is context. In virtually all studies, the context remains the same in the stimulus pre-exposure and test phases. However, if context is changed from the pre-exposure to the test phase, then LI is severely attenuated. The context-dependency of LI plays major roles in the current theories of LI, and in particular to their applications to schizophrenia, [5]where it has been proposed that relationship between the pre-exposed stimulus and the context breaks down; context no longer sets the opportunity for the expression of the stimulus-no consequence association. Therefore, working-memory is inundated with experimentally familiar but phenomenally novel stimuli, each competing for the limited resources required for efficient information processing. This description fits well with the positive symptoms of schizophrenia, particularly high distractibility, as well as with research findings.


The assumption that the attentional process that produces in patients with schizophrenia in patients with schizophrenia has significantly increased, with humans, and more. There is much data that indicates that agonists and antagonists modulate LI in rats and in normal humans. Dopamine agonists, such as amphetamine, abolish LI while dopamine antagonists, such as haloperidol and other anti-psychotic drugs, produce a super-LI effect. [6] In addition, manipulations of putative dopamine pathways in the brain also have effects on LI. Thus, hippocampal and septal lesions interfere with the development of LI, as do lesions in selective portions of the nucleus accumbens. [7]With reduced weight, reduced weight, reduced weight and reduced weight, compared to healthy subjects, while there is no difference in the amount of LI in the latter two groups. Finally, symptomatically normal subjects who score high on self-report questionnaires that measure psychotic-proneness or schizotypality also exhibit reduced LI compared to those who score low on the scales. [8]

In addition to LI illustrating a fundamental strategy for information processing and providing a useful tool for the investigation of dysfunctions in pathological groups, the LI method has been used to screen for symptoms of ameliorate schizophrenia. LI has also been used to explain why certain therapies, such as alcohol abuse treatments, are not as effective as expected. It may be useful in counteracting some of the side effects that often accompany radiation and chemotherapy for cancer, as for example food aversion. LI researches also suggested techniques that may be effective in the prophylactic treatment of certain fears and phobias. Of popular interest, several studies have been reported LI to creativity. [9]

In summary, the basic LI phenomenon represents some output of a selective attention process that results in learning to ignore irrelevant stimuli. It has become an important tool for understanding information processing in general, as well as attentional dysfunctions in schizophrenia, and it has implications for a variety of practical problems.


Low latent inhibition

Most people are able to ignore the constant stream of incoming stimuli, but this capability is reduced by low latent inhibition. Low latent inhibition (which may resemble hyperactivity or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in the early decades of the individual life) seems to be highly correlated with distracted behaviors. [10]This distractness can be manifested as general inattentiveness, a tendency to switch subjects without warning, and other absentminded habits. This is not all that can be explained by low latent inhibition, nor does it necessarily follow that people with low LI will have a hard time paying attention. It does mean, however, that it is capable of handling it. Those of above average intelligence are thought to be capable of processing this stream effectively, enabling their creativity and increasing their awareness of their surroundings. quote needed ]Those with average and less than average intelligence are more likely to be affected by mental illness and sensory overload. [11] It is hypothesized that a low level of latent inhibition can cause either psychosis or a high level of achievement [12] or both, which is usually dependent on the individual’s intelligence . [13] When they can not develop the creative ideas, they become frustrated and / or depressive.

High levels of the dopamine neurotransmitter (or its agonists ) in the ventral tegmental area of the brain have been shown to decrease latent inhibition. [14] Certain dysfunctions of the neurotransmitters glutamate , serotonin and acetylcholine have also been implicated. [15]

Low latent inhibition is not a mental disorder goal year Observed personality trait citation needed ] , and a description of how an individual Absorbs and assimilates data or stimuli. Furthermore, it does not Necessarily Lead to mental disorder or creative achievement-this is, like Many other factors of life, a box of environmental and predispositional influences whether thesis be positive (eg, education ) or negative (eg, abuse) in Nature .

See also

  • Genius
  • Highly sensitive person
  • Salience (neuroscience)



  1. Jump up^ Button, ME (2007)Learning and BehaviorSunderland, MA: Sinauer
  2. Jump up^ Lubow, RE (1973). Latent inhibition. Psychological Bulletin, 79 (6), 398.
  3. Jump up^ see Lubow & Weiner, 2010, for reviews
  4. Jump up^ http://www.lowlatentinhibition.org/
  5. Jump up^ for reviews, see Lubow & Weiner, 2010
  6. Jump up^ for review, Weiner & Arad, 2010
  7. Jump up^ for review, Weiner, 2010
  8. Jump up^ For reviews, Kumari & Ettinger, 2010; Lubow, 2005
  9. Jump up^ for review, Carson, 2010)
  10. Jump up^ Lehrer, Jonah (14 September 2010). “Are Distractible People More Creative?” . Wired .
  11. Jump up^ Lubow RE, JC Gewirtz (1995). “Latent inhibition in humans: data, theory, and implications for schizophrenia”. Psychological Bulletin . 117 (1): 87-103. doi : 10.1037 / 0033-2909.117.1.87 . PMID  7870865 .
  12. Jump up^ Decreased Latent Inhibition Is Associated With Increased Creative Achievement in High-Functioning Individuals; Archive link
  13. Jump up^ “Creative people more open to stimuli from environment” . Talentdevelop.com . Retrieved 2013-07-07 .
  14. Jump up^ Swerdlow NR, Stephany N, Wasserman LC, Talledo J, Sharp R, Auerbach PP (2003). “Dopamine agonists disrupt visual latent inhibition in normal males using a within-subject paradigm”. Psychopharmacology . 169 (3-4): 314-20. doi : 10.1007 / s00213-002-1325-6 . PMID  12610717 .
  15. Jump up^ C Bills, Schachtman T, Serfozo P, Spooren W, Gasparini F, Simonyi A (2005). “Effects of metabotropic glutamate receptor 5 on latent inhibition in conditioned taste aversion”. Behavioral Brain Research . 157 (1): 71-8. doi :10.1016 / j.bbr.2004.06.011 . PMID  15617773 .